This unprepossessing pot of three tiny seedlings has given me ridiculous amounts of joy the past weeks. This was probably one of my madder, doomed to failure, experiments this early winter- attempting to germinate and grow seeds on sunny windowsills in the house in the winter. And it has not been a resounding success- for obvious reasons really, light is needed and usually some warmth to persuade seeds to get going- and they have been up against it in both departments. Some more than others- the ‘Limelight’ seedlings are in a sunnier South-facing window, whereas other trays have had warmth, but are in an East-facing window. But I will keep the trays and see what happens as the days lengthen, keeping them just moist with misting to try and ensure that the seeds don’t rot.
On the other hand, there have been small successes, Salvia nutans got going with 4 tiny seedlings, I have since lost two but may end up with one strong one if I am lucky. I have five decent Clematis tangutica ‘Helios’ seedlings looking pretty perky, and a handful of Penstemon barbatus var. coccineus seedlings.
These are not big returns on the numbers of seeds sown, but they have given me more pleasure, especially the ‘Limelight’ than mere maths and ROI would suggest. This morning, Robbie Blackhall-Miles‘ article in ‘The Guardian’ really spoke to me of the joy of these very tiny messages of promise that seeds are. I would never have believed how much I adore this work with seeds- I would have thought I was too impatient to become skilled at it. I am much better than I was, in terms of return, and I think, if anything, I am learning real patience and appreciation of the natural world from these little things.
Salvia mexicana ‘Limelight’ is going to be a joy, I know it. A tender, big growing Salvia, up to 1.5m high and wide, it has chartreuse green leaves and dark, luscious purple flowers- which is one of my favourite colour combinations. I have lusted after it for ages, but it is not available in France, and I am trying to wean myself off buying plants that come by post from other countries. So when I saw seed advertised, I could not resist. Ebay done good, all the way from the USA. Here is how it looks at one of my all-time favourite nurseries, Annie’s Annuals, in Richmond, California.
Meantime, outside, big stuff is happening. Noticing this morning that brambles are now as prolific at hurling themselves over our wall as the roses we grow, was a turning point. The wall bordering the garden had really become a no-go area for me, I was very adept at looking the other way. But the bramble count was too high this morning.
And so, in moments, the decision that has been dormant was made- to remove everything in that area, get rid of all the self sown wisteria and other rubbish, and terminate a Rosa ‘Mermaid’ that was not helping the situation by harbouring all the villains in its roots. To be fair, ‘Mermaid’ though lovely, is a terrible and dangerous thug, and was a poor choice of mine ten years ago. So phase One of site clearance took place this morning as Andy, armed with his ‘Barbie’ Stihl saw, set about it. The saw is good, if domestic in scale and size, but it is the ‘Barbie’ saw to us as Mr Brun, our very lumberjack-style village woodsman, disparagingly refers to it in these terms!
Phase Two is planned for after the freeze- we are expecting -8C this week coming. One or two dahlias have certainly copped it.